Police: Planes collide over Alaska, 4 dead

July 31, 2011 - 4:59 AM
Planes Collide

A float plane sits on the side of the runway at Ted Stevens International Airport in Anchorage Alaska after making an emergency landing on Saturday, July 30, 2011. The float plane collided mid-air with a Cessna 180 in the Trapper Creek area. The Cessna 180 crashed to the ground and burned, killing at least two people on board, authorities said. (AP Photo/Bob Hallinen - Anchorage Daily News)

TRAPPER CREEK, Alaska (AP) — Two single-engine float planes collided as they flew near an Alaskan lake and one of them crashed and burned, killing the four people aboard, authorities said. The second plane landed safely despite significant damage.

The Cessna 180 was destroyed by the impact and fire, Federal Aviation Administration spokesman Ian Gregor told The Associated Press.

"It was engulfed in flames on the ground," Alaska State Trooper spokeswoman Megan Peters said.

The crash around Amber Lake near Trapper Creek, 80 miles north of Anchorage, came nearly three weeks after another in-flight collision that remarkably left the 13 people aboard the two aircraft unhurt.

The second plane in Saturday's crash, a Cessna 206, sustained significant damage but was able to return to Anchorage International Airport and make an emergency landing, after the collision around Amber lake near Trapper Creek, 80 miles north of Anchorage.

Pilot Kevin Earp, 56, of Eagle River was alone in the aircraft and uninjured, Peters said in a news release.

She said late Saturday that four bodies were recovered from the wreckage. Authorities initially said at least two people were killed.

The State Medical Examiner's office was working to identify the dead.

There was no immediate word on how the collision occurred.

On July 10, nine people aboard a Piper Navajo and four people in a Cessna 206 were uninjured when the planes collided. Both aircraft had minor damage but were able to land safely in Anchorage, with FAA spokesman Mike Fergus then describing the incident as "almost unheard of."